Are you a first time dog owner who doesn’t know where to start when it comes to choosing the best quality and well-balanced food for your canines? You’re not alone. There are so many dog food options out there that it becomes confusing. On top of that, there’s tons of misinformation out there regarding canine nutrition which creates more uncertainty.
In this article, we will help you, the dog owners, identify the best pet food for your four-legged friends. Along the way, we’ll also discuss the different types of dog food in the market and what to look out for. Let’s begin.
5 Things You Should Stay Away From In Dog’s Food
If you don’t know where to start when it comes to dog food, here are five things you should avoid that can be harmful to your pup’s health.
1. Non-Named Meats And Bad Quality By-Products of Meat
A by-product of meat means that it is the leftover waste of an animal’s body. Although these by-products and meat meals do provide your pooch with some protein, be sure to check the quality of the meat content. Go for name brands or trusted name brands only.
2. Harmful Preservatives And Chemicals
Many commercialized dog foods contain artificial preservatives and chemicals. These preservatives are called synthetic dog food preservatives which prevents the food from spoiling or growing fungus but are toxic to your pooch.
Some common chemical preservatives to look for and avoid are the following:
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
- Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
- Propylene Glycol (PG)
If you can’t pronounce the ingredients in the food label, it’s best to avoid it. As they say, if you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it!
However, not all food preservatives are the same. While they do get a bad reputation, there are some preservatives that are natural and are not harmful to your furry friends. These natural preservatives are usually made from vitamins E or C.
3. Unacceptable Grains And Fillers
Unacceptable grains are often used as fillers in dog food. There’s no health benefits and are not nutritious at all. Some common fillers in dog food include:
- Wheat gluten
- Rice husks
- Cereal by-products
4. Unregulated Food
With any dog food you pick up from the store, make sure it is up to the FDA regulation. Avoid dog food that is not regulated by the FDA.
5. Poor Ingredients Lead to Ill Health
Your precious pooch needs good quality ingredients in their food. Bad quality prevents proper nutrition and can severely affect their health. In fact, unhealthy ingredients in the food can actually lead to food poisoning in dogs.
Poor quality dog food can affect your canines’ brain functions and behaviors. Artificial chemical preservatives and food dyes can cause cancer. They can even lead to difficulty in learning, making training sessions harder.
As a responsible owner, you must provide your puppy with a balanced and nutritious diet. Remember that dogs are carnivores, so a natural raw food diet includes everything they would eat in the wild, along with additional veggies and superfoods, known to be perfect for promoting canine health. Introducing basic puppy food at the time of weaning (3 to 4 weeks of age) provides the ideal start in life. Good raw puppy food recipes are balanced and nutritionally rich in proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins that will help your puppy thrive during development. ProDog Raw is an exceptional brand that offers a variety of raw puppy food recipes (with finer ground minces for little mouths) that are all FEDIAF compliant.
Differentiating Between Safe And Unsafe Dog Foods
When you’re reading the ingredient list on the can or package, it’s important to know which ingredients are safe or unsafe for your pooch. Some ingredients are a strict no-no for your four-legged friends. Below is a list of safe and unsafe foods that may help you. If you’re still unsure, we recommend that you consult with your vet.
Safe foods for your pooch include oatmeal, brown rice, and homemade popcorn. Healthy pups enjoy fruits like bananas, blueberries, apples, and strawberries. Carrots, broccoli, spinach, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes are also safe vegetables for your furry companions. With moderation, you can also feed peanut butter to your pooch as a snack or treat.
Most canines find milk difficult to digest, especially if they are lactose-intolerant. If your pooch is lactose-intolerant, it’s best to avoid dairy products like ice cream.
Just like humans, too much sugar or sweeteners can cause diabetes, liver failure, and even severe vomiting in dogs.
Your pooch might need sodium, but excessive salt content could cause severe dehydration. Raw meats and vegetables are a strict no-no for your pup. Grapes, raisins, and cherries are banned for canines. Also, be sure to avoid onions and garlic as these two ingredients can cause anemia in dogs.
Trustworthiness of Catch Phrases
Many dog food companies claim their canine food is natural or organic. Be sure you double check the Guaranteed Analysis and ingredient list to see if the ingredients are actually organic. Don’t trust catchphrases right away.
Your veterinarian may prescribe a certain food diet if your pooch needs it. While it may cost you a bit more, over the long run, it will make your pup healthy.
Different Dog Food Types
There is a variety of dog foods in the market. Let’s go over 7 types of dog foods.
1. Dry Dog Food
Dry food or kibble is the most common type of dog food. They are bite-sized, hard, and crunchy.
2. Wet Dog Food
Wet food, commonly referred to as canned dog food, is high in water content. They generally do not contain many preservatives.
3. Semi-Moist Dog Food
Semi-moist dog food is softer to chew than kibble. They come in small pellets or large chunks with a little gravy or juice.
4. Dehydrated Dog Food
Dehydrated food is made by slowly heating raw food for decontamination.
5. Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Freeze-dried dog food, similar to dehydrated food, is produced at low temperature. It is uncooked food, but freeze-drying removes the moisture and contaminants.
6. Puppy Food
Puppies have special requirements. Their diet requires both wet and dry food. Dry food consists of tiny kibbles that are easy to eat and digest. Puppy dog food contains more calories than an adult dog food as they require more energy. It’s important to have a new puppy guide to help you make sure your pup is getting all the nutrition they need. The guide will also provide you with information on health and nutrition, recommended vaccinations, and the most important things you need to know about caring for a puppy.
7. Senior Dog Food
Older dogs have different requirements too. They often prefer canned food with lower calories compared to adult dogs and puppies. Chondroitin and glucosamine are both added to senior dog’s food. This helps to keep your furry friends’ joints, tendons, muscles, and bones strong.
These are the main types of dog food. Others may include grain-free, organic, and limited ingredient dog food.
What Are Recalls?
Your furry friend’s safety is of the utmost importance. So, FDA has a page devoted to any recalls of dog or animal food. Keep a lookout for any changes on their webpage as it will have the correct recall information with facts and details.
Some recalls are done mandatorily because that particular dog food might be risky for your furry friends.